Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard Co-Hosts Briefing Entitled “Reframing the Generational Divide: Baby Boomers vs. Young Latinos.”

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U.S. Capitol Complex, Washington D.C., July 7, 2011 | Helen Machado (202 225-1766) | comments
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) welcomed Hill staffers to a congressional briefing sponsored by the UCLA-USC Latinos & Economic Security Project entitled “Reframing the Generational Divide: Baby Boomers vs. Young Latinos” about the potential economic, social and political impact of our nation’s rapidly growing young Latino population and aging baby boomers.

“Just as our nation’s 78 million baby boomers are beginning to retire, our nation’s young Latino population is dramatically expanding,” said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard who co-hosted the event along with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.  “These intergenerational changes will undoubtedly have far reaching economic, social and political impacts on our nation. Today’s timely presentation will help us better understand those impacts and how we as policy makers and as a country can turn those challenges into opportunities of positive change for a stronger and better America.”

The expert panel that spoke in depth about this demographic shift consisted of: UCLA Professor Fernando Torres-Gil; Kathleen Wilber and Zachary Gassoumis of the USC Davis School of Gerontology; Chon Noriega of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center; Max Benavidez of Latinos & Economic Security; Kilolo Kijakazi of the Ford Foundation; Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Ronald Brownstein, Political Director of Atlantic Media and a columnist with the National Journal.

During the panel discussion, Ronald Brownstein discussed a July 2010 National Journal article he authored entitled “The Gray and the Brown: The Generational Mismatch.”  The article states, “Two of the biggest demographic trends reshaping the nation in the 21st century increasingly appear to be on a collision course that could rattle American politics for decades. From one direction, racial diversity in the United States is growing, particularly among the young. Minorities now make up more than two-fifths of all children under 18, and they will represent a majority of all American children by as soon as 2023, demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution predicts. At the same time, the country is also aging, as the massive Baby Boom Generation moves into retirement. But in contrast to the young, fully four-fifths of this rapidly expanding senior population is white. That proportion will decline only slowly over the coming decades, Frey says, with whites still representing nearly two-thirds of seniors by 2040. These twin developments are creating what could be called a generational mismatch, or a "cultural generation gap" as Frey labels it. A contrast in needs, attitudes, and priorities is arising between a heavily (and soon majority) nonwhite population of young people and an overwhelmingly white cohort of older people. Like tectonic plates, these slow-moving but irreversible forces may generate enormous turbulence as they grind against each other in the years ahead.”

Max Benavidez, Public Communications Specialist at Latinos & Economic Security (LES) said about the LES project in a Hispanic Outlook magazine article, “We want people to understand that, as a society, our younger population has to be well-educated and well-informed because the retiring population is being funded by these younger workers," said Benavidez. "We are going to keep producing our research and data. No one else is looking at this population like we are. We have a niche."

Latinos and Economic Security is a national research project funded by the Ford Foundation designed to enhance retirement security for middle-aged and older Latinos by developing and fostering a new policy agenda that will make issues of aging Latinos a priority for policy makers as well as the Hispanic community.  To accomplish this, the project seeks to educate key decision makers as well as the public about the urgency of identifying needs and addressing the most pressing priorities facing an aging Latino community with particular emphasis on Latino baby boomers.

The project is also dedicated to developing a number of educational products that can be accessed and used immediately by the Latino community to increase their understanding of Social Security as well as the impact of various proposed changes. As such, the project will develop and disseminate educational products that will assess the status of Latino Baby Boomers, explore the financial risks and threats facing Latinos approaching retirement, and identify and explore opportunities to improve the financial security of Latinos.

This project is a collaborative effort of the UCLA Center for Policy Research on Aging, the USC Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, in partnership with the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
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